Cheryl Welch remembers the day last fall, when she packed her belongings into a box at the daily newspaper where she served as editor, and walked out the door for the last time.
She was heading to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, embarking on a new adventure in brand journalism.
Amid the picture frames, trophies and coffee mugs, one thing she made sure she brought with her was her unshakable journalist’s mindset.
“It was kind of a sad day, but (my coworkers) understood,” Welch said. “They understood I had a new mission, new people to help; that I needed to spread the seeds of good journalism.”
How quickly they grow.
Less than a year after she walked in the door at Spectrum Health, Welch—together with teammates Diane Benson, Christopher Clark and Jill Seidelman—has helped shepherd the health system’s Health Beat website to remarkable achievements.
Health Beat earned the latest in a long line of accolades this week, as it was named Best Digital Publication by Ragan’s Health Care PR and Marketing Awards for 2015.
Welch said this latest, premiere award proves the team’s efforts and Spectrum Health’s commitment to Health Beat are paying off.
“The Health Beat team works hard every day to share inspiring and informative stories with our readers,” she said. “We’re dedicated to helping people along their health care journeys, and awards such as these naturally result from this level of dedication. The awards show us that we’re on the right track, that we’re truly serving our readers, and that Spectrum Health is on the leading edge in yet another area of expertise.”
Health Beat has already gathered more than 146,000 dedicated readers, no small number for a crowded health care communications field. They’ve done it with easy-to-understand, news-you-can-use articles featuring Spectrum Health’s own experts. The results speak for themselves: Health Beat already has three times more awards (nine) than it has months since its official May 2015 launch, including:
- Best Newsletter — PR Daily’s 2015 Nonprofit PR Awards
- Top 10 Hospital Website — Wainscot Communication
- 2015 Hermes Creative Awards for:
- Brand Journalism, Gold
- e-Newsletter, Gold
- Nonprofit, Gold
- e-News Service, Gold
- Silver Award — 2015 Aster Awards
- Gold Award for Newsletter — 2015 PRoof Award
- Best Digital Publication — Ragan’s Health Care PR and Marketing Awards
“These are national awards with competitors who have been doing this for far longer than we have, so for us to bring home top honors so soon is phenomenal,” Welch said. “It’s truly amazing because we’re a tenth of the awesome that we will be once we get the word out about Health Beat.”